Authorities in Colombia have begun a large-scale search for the father of Liverpool striker Luis Diaz, and have offered an amount of up to 40,000 pounds sterling as a reward to anyone who provides information leading to finding Diaz’s father.
More than 120 soldiers, in addition to police officers, are participating in the search for Diaz’s father, which includes the entire northern region of Colombia.
This operation began on Sunday, after reports emerged of the kidnapping of the man and his wife by armed elements.
Authorities found Diaz’s mother, Clinis Marulanda, in Barrancas City on Saturday.
Diaz missed his team’s last match, which hosted Nottingham Forest on Sunday, which Liverpool won.
The Colombian army confirmed that it had set up many checkpoints on the main roads, and trained teams, marches, helicopters, and aircraft equipped with radar were participating in the search operations.
Press reports in the Colombian media confirmed that Diaz’s parents were kidnapped by armed men, using motorcycles, when the player’s father was refueling his car on the road leading to the city of Barrancas, the player’s hometown. The city is located in the province of Guajira, in the north of the country.
“All forces have been deployed with the aim of finding Diaz’s father,” President Gustavo Petro said.
Colombian Police Director General William Salamanca announced a reward equivalent to about 55,000 US dollars for anyone who provides information leading to finding Diaz’s father.
Public Prosecutor Francisco Barbosa indicated that he contacted the player twice to inform him of developments in the search process.
He added that he spoke to him about the information that indicated the possibility of the kidnappers transferring his father to Venezuela, and in this case President Petro’s intervention would be required.
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp dedicated his team’s recent 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest to the player, saying, “We won for our brother.”
After scoring his team’s first goal, Portuguese Diego Jota lifted his teammate Luis Diaz’s shirt while celebrating with his teammates.
Analysis: Vanessa Buchlatter – Latin America and Caribbean Editor
Kidnappings in Colombia have declined dramatically since 2000, when militants kidnapped more than 3,500 people.
During the past years, the number of kidnappings in the country has reached only a few hundred.
But at the beginning of this year, kidnappings began to increase again, rising from 77 kidnappings in the first 6 months of last year, to 161 during the same period of the current year.
According to data from the Colombian Ministry of Defense, all kidnappings are carried out with the aim of demanding ransom.
The northern region of Colombia adjacent to the border with Venezuela, where Diaz’s parents were kidnapped, is the region in the country that witnesses the most kidnappings.
Clips published by Colombian media from surveillance camera recordings showed that a number of gunmen were pursuing Diaz’s father’s car on the road.
Special units were deployed to deal with kidnapping and extortion in the area to help find Diaz’s father.
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